SEVERAL regional and national cricket competitions have been cancelled, the England and Wales Cricket Board has announced.

Citing the fixture challenges of a vastly reduced 2020 season due to the coronavirus, a desire to reduce players' travel and the added logistical demands of rescheduling, the ECB has decided to cancel the competitions for this year only.

Among the cancelled events are the National Counties Championship, the Royal London Club Championship and the men's and women's Vitality T20 Cup and Plate competitions.

The ECB said: "With a condensed summer resulting in fixture challenges, we have taken the decision to cancel the below competitions to ensure that all players have an opportunity to play.

"In addition, to ensure maximum flexibility for all clubs pursuing a return to action and because we believe it is safer for clubs and players to reduce their amount of travel we will be prioritising local playing opportunities over National and Regional competitions.

"While it is regrettable to have to cancel these competitions, the decision has been taken with public health as a priority and additionally to ensure that clubs are as free as possible to play as much cricket as they can in their local area once the game is able to progress to step 4.

"Many of these tournaments would require rescheduling, which logistically could make it difficult for clubs to arrange other cricket and the health and safety of everyone involved in the game has been our priority throughout this period."

The full list of cancelled competitions for 2020:

  • National Counties Championship (Three-day cricket)
  • National County Showcase Fixtures v First-Class Counties
  • Royal London Club Championship
  • Vitality Men’s Club T20 Cup & Plate
  • Vitality Women’s Club T20 Cup & Plate
  • U18 Boys County Championship
  • U17 Super Fours
  • Royal London Boys County Age Group Under 14, 15 & 18 Cup Competitions
  • Royal London Girls County Age Group Under 15 & 17 Cup Competitions
  • ECB David English Bunbury Festival
  • ECB City Cup
  • ECB Over 50s County Championship
  • ECB Girls Regional Development Centre Festival
  • ECB Girls U15 Festivals

The ECB also reiterated its desire for recreational cricket to return as early as July 4, despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson describing the cricket ball as "a vector of disease" in the House of Commons on Tuesday.

In a statement, the ECB said: "The ECB along with the nation’s cricket players are keen to see the imminent and safe return of our sport at recreational level and have been working hard with Government to achieve this.

"We believe that cricket is a non-contact sport, with very low risks of exposure, and that it can be played as safely as many other activities being currently permitted. It is our strong desire to work with Government to see the return of recreational cricket on or around 4 July, as they continue to lift other restrictions more broadly across society.

"As we continue to work towards recreational cricket returning on or around 4 July, though, it has become clear that given the current restrictions we will sadly be unable to run certain elements of the scheduled 2020 cricket season."